After a week of sometimes indignant public denials and insistence that he was the victim of an Internet hacker, a weeping and stammering … Rep. Anthony D. Weiner acknowledged at a news conference that he had sent the photo of himself in his underwear to … a college student in Seattle.
— New York Times
Today, I want to briefly address a private matter. (1) I'd like to take this time to clear up some of the questions that have been raised over the past 10 days or so, and take full responsibility for my actions. (2)
There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. (3) I was blind to how arrogant and self-centered I had become; I did not recognize that I thought mostly of myself. The worst part about this is I even tried not to become caught up in my own self-importance. Unfortunately, the urge to believe in it was stronger than the power to fight it. (4) I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. (5)
I made a serious mistake. (6) I haven't told the truth, and I've done things I deeply regret. (7) I've been unfaithful to my wife. (8) That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. (9) This is no time for evasions, denials or alibis. I fully accept responsibility and I am truly sorry for my actions. (10)
I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors. First, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct. I was also very concerned about protecting my family. (11) To all those I have disappointed and hurt, these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry. (12) I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. (13)
As an elected official, I fully realize that my life is open for public criticism and scrutiny, and I take full responsibility for the mistake in judgment I made in attempting to handle this matter myself. (14) Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself. (15)
I've let down a lot of people. That's the bottom line. And I let them down and in every instance I would ask their forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an immediate process, it is in fact a process that takes time and I'll be in that process for quite some weeks and months and I suspect years ahead. (16) I do not believe that God tortures any person simply for its own sake. (17) I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there's a forgiving God. Somebody once said that when we're young, we seek justice, but as we get older, we seek mercy. There's something to that, I think. (18)
As we go through the process of working through this there are going to be some hard decisions to be made, to be dealt with. (19) I owe a humble thank you to the many people who helped to get me here, and who helped me serve effectively. (20) I am very proud of the things we have accomplished during my administration. (21)
But I guess where I'm trying to go with this is there are moral absolutes and that God's law indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that. This press conference is a consequence. (22) I ask that the media respect my wife and children through this extremely difficult time. While I deserve your attention and criticism, my family does not. (23)
Thank you for watching. And good night. (24)
Thomas Vinciguerra is the editor of the forthcoming "Backward Ran Sentences: The Best of Wolcott Gibbs" from the New Yorker.
© 2011 New York Times